4 Advantages and Also Disadvantages of Recycling: What You Should Know

There is no doubt in any environmentally aware person’s mind that recycling is helping the planet and us too. As we all know, recycling is a form of waste management, involving the conversion of waste and other used materials into reusable products. Recycling comes with certain benefits for the environment, but it is also met with its fair share of criticism. Recycling sometimes drastically elicits diverse opinions and responses from different people. The actual definition and process of recycling are relatively straightforward. However, there is often a lot of debate surrounding its overall effectiveness for the long term. Moreover, many people still wonder whether it is the best solution for managing waste, given its disadvantages. Today, we will take a look at the top 4 advantages and also disadvantages of recycling and learn more about the process to make better-educated life choices.

Advantage: Recycling Reduces Pollution

The modern world has to deal with large levels of pollution – most of them coming from industrial waste. The recycling of plastics, cans, papers, rubber, and chemicals leads to a sensible cut back on pollution because these waste products are reused rather than just being thrown away recklessly.

Disadvantage: Recycling May Contribute to Pollution

There is a catch with recycling of waste products and materials, and we still need to tackle it the right way. To recycle any byproducts, be they plastic, glass, paper, used electronics and so on, we need specially built facilities. Some products destined to recycling go back to their manufacturers for repurposing, while others go to special new factories for total recycling.

All these facilities and factories consume energy, emit gases, and produce waste. In other words, even though we recycle some things, we may still be polluting the air, water, and using extra resources. Recycling is not cost-effective, and this is one of the biggest disadvantages of recycling, but we will get there in a minute.

Advantage: Recycling Protects the Environment

The first and most used example is that of paper and plastic. Recycling paper means less use of trees and therefore, less deforestation. This causes cleaner air and safer environments for entire ecosystems and habitats to enjoy. Recycling plastic also means fewer landfills, less water pollution, and less soil damage – a result that leads to safer environments for humans and wildlife as well. Following these examples, the world is trying to recycle and repurpose other natural resources to better conserve the environment.

Disadvantage: Recycling Is Not Cost-Effective

One of the biggest disadvantages of recycling is that it consumes large capital and does not generate returns. Recycling plants and factories can come with massive up-front costs, as we have to build them, make them work, and provide them with equipment. Moreover, recyclable products need proper storing, while recycled goods go through the same process as new goods: storing, transportation, etc.

Establishing new recycling protocols can be extremely expensive, and recycling organizations and investors need time to see their investment returning. In the meanwhile, they do have to manage the waste storage. Recycling comes with additional costs as well: buying different kinds of utility equipment and vehicles, upgrading the recycling unit, waste, and chemical disposal and educating people into recycling.

Advantage: Recycling Cuts Down the Waste on Landfills

The recycling of old materials into reusable products enormously reduces the possibility of choking of landfill sites. This is beneficial because it helps minimize land and water pollution since landfills contribute tremendously to environmental degradation.

Disadvantage: Recycling Sites Are Commonly Toxic and Polluting

disadvantages of recycling sites and factories

If recycling means just putting waste products into the right bin and not giving another thought, there is bad news for you. All the trash we recycle has to be transported and processed somewhere. This means that all those recycling sites, facilities, and factories are veritable toxic landfills – unhealthy, unsafe, and unsightly.

Many times, a recycling facility is an endless heap of trash that entertains bacteria, disease, gases, and other unsafe conditions. Moreover, as we said, recycling facilities are industrial ones – coming with their share of broad water, air, and soil pollution. It’s no wonder that debate ensues when pollution by recycling almost matches in intensity the pollution of producing new goods.

Advantage: Recycling Ensures Sustainable Use of Resources

Recycling guarantees that we use existing resources sensibly and sustainably. The recycling process lessens the possibility of discriminate use of raw materials when they are obtainable in huge supply. We encourage recycling from lower levels, for instance, our own homes, schools, and small-sized organizations. Governments also encourage recycling at global levels. This means that manufacturing industries can leave existing natural resources for exploitation by future generations without affecting current production.

Disadvantage: Recycling Products Are in Low Demand and of Low Quality

In the best of worlds, we would all embrace the concept of recycling and the goods coming out of it. It is true that recycling saves resources for future generations as it uses the already existing ones (eliminating the need for deforestation, mining, petroleum extraction, and so on). However, the world still has some issues with the goods coming out of recycling plants. They may be low-priced, but let us face it. When you go shopping for running shoes, you do not think twice before buying a new pair rather than one made from a huge pile of repurposed trash.

Recycled products are clearly of lower quality and durability than new products. Moreover, the demand for recycled products is still very low on a global level. Just because households, schools, and some companies recycle does not mean that the world is keen on buying and consuming goods from recycling plants. One of the biggest disadvantages of recycling, when people do not get involved, puts recycling more on the side of whims.

In Conclusion…

Recycling has tremendous benefits, and while nobody denies them, it’s also true that we have to deal with its drawbacks. It does save the planet, but this practice generates slow results for long periods of time with little visibility. Taking each piece of trash to the dedicated bin does not mean we can solve the problem of massive industrial-level waste. For recycling to become more cost-efficient, we need more global awareness regarding the consumption of recycled goods. The disadvantages of recycling may be overcome if we engage more and become more and more environmentally aware.

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William E. Eubanks

I'm one of the main writers on the site; mostly dealing with environmental news and ways to live green. My goal is to educate others about this great planet, and the ways we can help to protect it.

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